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Fans getting their wish in Midsummer Classic PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, July 11, 2013 12:12 AM

 

By JIM METCALFE

Sports Editor

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I’m not going to get into who should have been voted into the Midsummer Classic — or not. When you depend on the fans, they sometimes — sometimes? — allow emotion to get the best of their judgement.

As that great American philosopher, Gomer Pyle, might opine: Surprise! Surprise! Surprise!

That’s part of what makes the Midsummer Classic what it is and as the French might observe: Vive La Difference!

After all, isn’t that what Major League Baseball — and throw in the National Football League, the National Basketball Association and the National Hockey League — are really all about: the fans?

I get that professional sports are about making a profit for the owners, the players, the networks, etc., but you don‘t do that by alienating the fans. You get people to come to games, to watch these “modern-day gladiators” on the tube, to listen to these events on the radio, to go to your websites and read about the comings and goings of your team on and on, in order to make those dollars.

Those do not happen without us, folks!

Remember that, ALL you guys.

With the NBA Finals done for a month and NFL training camps not quite open — now is the time for our football heroes to get some vacation time — MLB has the team sports spotlight all to its lonesome.

That can be a positive: with such good stories as the Los Angeles Bums … er, Dodgers Yasiel Puig making a late push to be included on the National League team; the possibility that the Pittsburgh Pirates will finally — finally! — have a winning record and make the playoffs after a professional record-setting run of futility; with a tremendous second-half chase shaping up in the American League East — one or two of those teams will not make the playoffs — amongst the regular headlines, those are items MLB want there.

Unfortunately, it can also be negative to have the sports world solo as far as team sports. The biggest issue right now is the MLB investigation into performance-enhancing drugs involving Biogenesis and how far-reaching it will eventually become.

I don’t know to really think: one side of me hopes they “nail the cheaters” — I think MLB ignored some obvious signs and so did we all in the name of our sports and our heroes — and the other part hopes they are innocent and will be judged so because I WANT to give them the benefit of the doubt.

I won’t go into the “third” part!

We shall see!

I am a Los Angeles Laker fan. I have been since they acquired Kareem Abdul-Jabbar from the Milwaukee Bucks in 1975 and remain so.

I will remain so as they go through this forced-rebuilding process after the fiasco that was the Dwight Howard saga.

Anyone that thinks they can simply pick up and carry on like nothing has happened after Howard signed with the Houston Rockets for basically nothing in return — or a bunch of roster “occupiers” to keep salary-cap space for the hoped-for free-agent Class of 2014 (good luck!)and hope that you don’t embarrass the Laker brand — is, well, not involved with reality.

Fans talk about what his replacement on the roster, Chris Kaman, has averaged over his career and isn’t a bad sub but that isn’t what he’s done lately.

You basically gave up a still-young center in Andrew Bynum — now being considered by an up-and-coming Cleveland Cavaliers — for a one-year crapshoot (for nothing, in essence) and further compounded it by signing a far-beyond-his-prime Steve Nash to run a high-tempo offense with a slow, slower, slowest group and you gave away your future to do so.

You keep a head coach over Howard to run an offense that simply does not fit your personnel — maybe in two years if you let Kobe go and actually get a bunch of young, fast, athletic pups in there to actually run a fast break by some kind of magic, drafting, trades.

You keep thinking Kobe can play millions of minutes a year, keep going as if he hasn’t aged a day, isn’t coming off a major, major injury and will be his old self — is he going to take 50 shots a game to prove he “still has it”?

Ouch.

I have actually posted some of these thoughts on some of the team’s forums; I don’t think I am alone.

I will be honest: one never really knows what pro athletes will do when their — in this case — manhood is challenged and they may surprise me.

I repeat: we shall see.

 

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